What to Know
- Philadelphia is lifting COVID-19 outdoor mask requirements on Friday, May 21.
- Indoor masking rules for full-vaccinated people will stop on June 11 if numbers continue to fall.
- The city continues to urge people not vaccinated to get a COVID-19 vaccine.
Starting this weekend, you can ditch the mask outside, even in crowded places, in Philadelphia.
However, indoor masking requirements remain in place, for now, even if you are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Acting Health Commissioner, Dr. Cheryl Bettigole, addressed the media Wednesday for the first time since she replaced Dr. Thomas Farley. She laid out the new guidelines for masking.
Masks Can Come Off Outdoors on Friday
Starting Friday, masks are no longer required outdoors in Philadelphia. That includes outdoor dining at restaurants and sporting events.
"You can go to a ballgame without a mask," Bettigole said of fully vaccinated people.
The relaxing of mask rules come as the city eliminates density limits for retail stores, offices, museums, bowling alleys and libraries on Friday. Capacity restrictions will also be eased at event venues and gyms.
Anyone two weeks out from their second dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines or the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine can lose the mask outdoors with confidence since infection is unlikely, Bettigole said. People who are not fully vaccinated are urged to wear masks in crowded places, but won't be required to do so.
City Aims to Ease Indoor Masking in June
When the city eliminates all capacity limits on June 11, anyone fully vaccinated can drop the mask indoors, if daily COVID cases, hospitalizations and other metrics continue to go in the right direction.
The city will review its standing as of the week of June 6 and could still delay the mask removal mandate.
Daily COVID cases and the positivity rate have declined over the past several weeks as vaccines increased, Bettigole said.
To date, more than 633,000 people in Philadelphia are fully vaccinated, according to city data.
Bettigole had a message for people who still haven't gotten the vaccine.
"People who are not fully vaccinated will be required to wear masks around others," she said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance suggests that people continue to wear masks in certain situations, including public transit and hospitals.